Less than a month removed from their last show there, RPW returned to the York Hall for its annual Summer Sizzler show. Last year’s RPW Summer Sizzler saw AJ Styles win the British Championship as well as a classic encounter between Matt Sydal and Will Ospreay. This year’s event’s card is just as impressive, highlighted by Will Ospreay again in a big time Cruiserweight Championship match and Katsuyori Shibata making his debut in a challenge to Zack Sabre Jr. for the belt Styles won a year ago.
Revolution Pro Wrestling
July 10, 2016
British Tag Team Championships
Charlie Garrett & Joel Redman def. Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm, British Young Bloods & Legion of Lords
Well they got the match people didn’t care about out of the way right away. Four way tag matches with four great teams often end up being just fine, so with half the teams in this match not being particularly good my hopes were not high. It ended up being fine yet forgettable. Redman was the clear star of the eight men involved being leagues above everybody else in terms of presence. Rishi Ghosh shined in a few comedic spots too. The champions retained with a corkscrew senton in a fine yet skippable opener that really didn’t need to go 20 minutes. Now hopefully Garrett and Redman can move onto some better teams and stop the tag division being the low-light of every show. **3/4
Tomohiro Ishii def. Josh Bodom
This was somewhat a match of two halves. The first half saw Ishii almost in house-show mode, almost completely lacking the stiffness that we all love him for. Thankfully as the match went on Bodom seemed to work up the courage to up the physicality himself, and thankfully managed to bring out Ishii’s signature grumpy rage for the second half. It then followed that the second half of this match was really, really good. The youngster tried to go strike for strike with the Stone Pitbull, and while that didn’t pan out he looked valiant in defeat. Bodom’s best ever match. Ishii won following a brainbuster. ***3/4
Sha Samuels def. Moose
This was Moose’s debut in the company, and it felt like his entrance chant got over more than he did. Sha Samuels was coming off a thoroughly unimpressive tag title run but proved here that he’s a better wrestler than his performances over the last year would lead you to believe by leading Moose to an enjoyable back and forth match. Aside from a dumb superplex no-sell spot and a one-count kickout that felt out of place and unnecessary this was an easy watch that delivered above expectation. Samuels defeated Moose in what felt like somewhat of an upset with a feet-on-the-rope roll-up. ***1/4
British Cruiserweight Championship
Will Ospreay def. Pete Dunne
I will unabashedly say that Will Ospreay is my favourite wrestler on earth at the moment, so take that into account when I say that I think Pete Dunne was the man who shined brightest in this encounter. I’m somebody who obviously enjoys Ospreay’s style, but in this match while everything he did was very impressive there were one or two spots where even I thought things were a little overly cutesy. Contrastingly, everything Dunne did was crisp, impactful and just plain vicious looking. In some ways Ospreay choosing this match to go extra-flippy helped Dunne stand-out, as it made him look all the more impressive when he would floor Ospreay with something as simple as a plain old forearm strike.
One minor gripe that this match brought to the forefront of my mind was that I’d like to see Ospreay use a headbut a little less regularly. He used it twice in this match, and while it looked good both times I think with his style he’d be better served cutting back on it a little so that when he does resort to it it’ll feel all the more important.
The match had a high pace right from the start, and never lulled whatsoever, and it saw them pack a lot in. There were some incredibly elaborate sequences in this, which I’m sure will divide opinion but had the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout. If ever you find Ospreay’s style generally too “dancey” then this won’t be one for you, but if you usually find yourself enjoying him then you’re sure to have a lot of fun with this one. Ospreay regained the Cruiserweight belt with an OsCutter in the match of the night. ***3/4
After the match Ospreay took to the mic and cut a promo building the upcoming match with Vader. I personally have no interest in seeing the match so the content didn’t do a lot for me, but what I really took away from this is that Ospreay has hugely improved his verbal delivery, an area which used to be a real weakness for him.
Marty Scurll def. Mike Bailey
This was a nice exhibition type match for Marty while he somewhat remains in a holding pattern on these big shows while slowly progressing his storyline with Sabre Jr. on the smaller ones. Bailey is as good as an opponent for that as anybody, and in general they worked well together although there were one or two spots where Marty looked unsure how many spins Bailey was going to take before kicking him. As a result he just had to stand awkwardly and wait, which is probably something that’d improve with familiarity. Bailey’s super flexible fingers lead to some pretty sickening digit manipulation.
I would have liked to see the early work on Bailey’s foot go somewhere, but overall this was a tonne of fun. The finish in particular was really well done. In one fluid motion Scurll moved out of the way of the moonsault knees and then hooked him into the Crossface Chickenwing for the submission victory. ***1/2
Matt Sydal def. Big Damo
This was a bizarre one. I was expecting it to be Damo throwing Sydal around, but that never really happened. It started off far more technical than you’d expect with these two, and after it had developed beyond that Sydal ended up taking about 60% of the match. There was nothing particularly wrong with the work, but the structure was surprising and didn’t really work. I still enjoyed the match, but I expected a bit more. Sydal went over Damo (who is on his way out of the company) with the shooting star press, perhaps to set him up for a triple threat Cruiserweight title match with Pete Dunne and Will Ospreay at some point down the line. ***1/4
Post match Damo got on the mic and began what sounded like a farewell speech, only to be attacked from behind by Sha Samuels. That likely sets up Damo’s last match with the company which I imagine will occur at Uprising.
Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Katsuyori Shibata
The best bit about this match was the way that it started. There was a great sense of struggle in the opening exchanges with both guys grappling to try and get an advantage, and they managed to make the escalation towards strikes feel very natural and important.
Unfortunately after starting off really well this match left me kind of cold. High expectations probably played into that a lot, but at best this felt like the first half of a great match and at worst it was just plain underwhelming. I never really got a sense of purpose or drive from the action after the first couple of minutes. Both men just put their opponent in submissions and hit them with strikes without any real clear direction, and then before you knew it Sabre Jr. had retained by catching Shibata in the European Clutch at the end of a series of reversals, which was just as things looked like they were really stepping up to the next level. It wasn’t a bad match, but it was very disappointing. ***1/4
While overall this show didn’t blow me away bell-to-bell, and there’s no real must watch individual matches, the show as a whole is a very easy watch. While the crowd is far from being bad they are a shade below York Hall’s usual standards in terms of volume, something that I put down to the heat of the building being exhausting. The commentary for this show is also more bearable than usual, with Oliver Bennett doing a good job and Andy Boy Simmonz being better than usual. The show isn’t necessarily one worth going out of your way for, but if you generally keep an eye on the RPW product then it’s worth checking out.